I’ve been running a large event kicking off the collective working capability for several parts of a multinational company.
There were people representing 4 organisations each of which had annual turnovers of several hundred million pounds.
I thought I’d share what happened. We had to think on our feet a lot….
- Developed the workshop bringing 20 or so people together to develop collective working capability over two days.
- Spent weeks planning the event
- Planned down to the minute (we had expected highly structured, task oriented types present)
- On the day the plan got busted within the first 5 mins when the client asked for something different than I’d been told – ok we fitted that in.
- Then these tasky, structured types started to get more creative and overran our timings, so we ran with the energy in the room and made space for this.
- Did more prep in the break re-planning on the fly (this was possible because we’d put all that work in beforehand)
- The end of the event we got real success achieved everything we set out to.
So why am I telling you all this?
In the feedback session we asked what had gone really well about the event, where the real value was
The answer – It was the tea breaks where we got the most value
My inner reaction for a microsecond – OH NO!
[for those of you that facilitate you’ll know the mind works in the fast lane where you are stood up there]
Then it suddenly occurred:
- Yes they were right, the real value was in the unstructured dialogue when people were relaxed
- But if I’d just brought them together for a tea break :
- They wouldn’t have come
- Nothing would have happened
- So the structure is needed to get things started
- Then allow space for people to start to feel safe
- Then allow time for all that relationship building stuff to kick in
- Stand back and try not to interfere.
Learning for me..
- Build in longer breaks, let people talk
- Allow space when people in the room get energised
- Your plans can change
- It’s the result for the people in the room that matters
The event was such a success we’ve been commissioned to take it to other parts of the organisation.
I’m now busy planning more overseas trips
Funny old world isn’t it.